UN rights call on Texas to halt execution of Mexican

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The UN human rights office called Friday on the US state of Texas to spare the life of a Mexican death row inmate convicted of rape and murder, as there were questions about whether he received a fair trial.

Humberto Leal Garcia, 38, is scheduled to die in Texas on July 7, but Mexico maintains he was not given proper consular access, a violation of the Vienna Convention.

Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, pointed out that the governor of Texas "has the power to commute the sentence to life imprisonment."

"The High Commissioner has written to him directly requesting him to do so," he said.

"Over and above the normal UN position opposing the death penalty, this case raises particular concerns, as Mr Leal Garcia was not granted consular access, which, as a foreign national -- is his right under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

"The lack of consular assistance and advice raises concerns about whether or not Mr Leal Garcia's right to a fair trial was fully upheld," added Colville.

© 2011 AFP

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